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Bruins Notebook

Bergeron having visions of return

Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By Fluto Shinzawa
Globe Staff / March 23, 2008

MONTREAL - When Patrice Bergeron returns to the Boston lineup, be it this season or next, he'll be playing for the first time since last Oct. 27, the day he was slammed into the TD Banknorth Garden boards by Philadelphia defenseman Randy Jones.

In his mind, however, Bergeron has already been on the ice for some time.

Physically, Bergeron has been taking significant steps toward his comeback. Yesterday, while most of his teammates were given the morning off, Bergeron punched in a 75-minute on-ice session at Bell Centre under the watch of assistants Geoff Ward and Doug Houda.

Mentally, he's been healing as well.

Bergeron has been performing daily visualization exercises prescribed by team psychologist Frank Lodato. For the first month after the injury, Bergeron wasn't able to go through the exercises because he had trouble focusing. When his mind sharpened but he was still mostly limited to couch time, Bergeron visualized everyday activities such as taking walks. As his condition improved, the exercises developed into on-ice scenarios where Bergeron pictured himself in game situations.

The exercises last between five and 10 minutes each day.

"For three months when you're not skating, it's pretty much the only thing that can get you close to playing the game again," said Bergeron. "I was trying that and it's a good thing to do.

"It's a big part of the sport. The mental game is huge. You need to work on that if you want to be a better player. So I thought it was a good time to work on it."

Bergeron was originally scheduled this weekend for a neuro-psych test, one of the remaining criteria the 22-year-old needs to clear before he can be approved for contact practice. But when management informed Bergeron that he could travel with the team to Montreal - "He was pretty pumped when we told him about it," said general manager Peter Chiarelli - he rescheduled the test for Wednesday, preferring a trip to his home province.

"It's always special to come back to Montreal and Quebec," said Bergeron, who joined the club for a road game for the first time since the injury. "My family's not going to come because they're not from around here. But first and foremost, it's good to be back on the road with the guys. It wouldn't matter where we were playing. I'd just be happy to be here.

"I had dinner with the guys [Friday] night, and just to be around the team a little bit feels good. I feel like part of the team again."

Komisarek sidelined
The Bruins delivered an uppercut to the Montreal defense in Thursday's loss. In the first period, Mike Komisarek suffered a lower-body injury that will knock the stout defenseman out for the rest of the regular season. Komisarek was most likely injured when he was hit by Milan Lucic. Montreal was also missing forward Guillaume Latendresse (neck spasms).

Axelsson shows fight
Shawn Thornton, Boston's designated tough guy, on P.J. Axelsson throwing down with forward Maxim Lapierre in the first period: "It shows what a team guy he is. He's a leader. We've got guys who do that. But for him to go shows how dedicated he is to the squad." . . . Dennis Wideman has a 2-for-7 shootout record in his career, but hadn't been tabbed by coach Claude Julien before last night. "I definitely didn't expect that," Wideman said of the call. The defenseman said he's worked on his stop-and-start move in practice lately.

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